(August 29, 1632 - October 28, 1704)
John Locke , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory.
(November 10, 1759 - May 9, 1805)
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
(November 21, 1694 - May 30, 1778)
François-Marie Arouet, better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state.
(May 18, 1048 - December 4, 1131)
Omar Khayyám was a Persian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology.
(September 6, 1729 - January 4, 1786)
Moses Mendelssohn was a German Jewish philosopher to whose ideas the renaissance of European Jews, Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment) is indebted. Although himself a practising orthodox Jew, he has been referred to as the father of Reform Judaism.
(January 18, 1689 - February 10, 1755)
Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment.
(March 31, 1596 - February 11, 1650)
René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy
continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments.
(April 22, 1724 - February 12, 1804)
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg (today Kaliningrad of Russia), researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment.
, German philosopher
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
(January 22, 1729 - February 15, 1781)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature. He is widely considered by theatre historians to be the first dramaturg.
Giordano Bruno, born Filippo Bruno, was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. His cosmological theories went beyond the Copernican model in proposing that the Sun was essentially a star, and moreover, that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds populated by other intelligent beings.
(November 24, 1632 - February 21, 1677)
Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death. By laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy.
French philosopher, philosopher
(March 12, 1683 - February 29, 1744)
John Theophilus Desaguliers
(May 5, 1818 - March 14, 1883)
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto
(1848) and Capital
(1867–1894); some of his works were co-written with his friend and fellow German revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels.
, German philosopher
, revolutionary socialist
(April 5, 1588 - December 4, 1679)
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathan
established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory.
(May 3, 1469 - June 21, 1527)
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. A founder of modern political science, he was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic.
(April 1, 1776 - June 27, 1831)
Marie-Sophie Germain was a French mathematician, physicist and philosopher. Despite initial opposition from her parents and difficulties presented by a gender-biased society, she gained education from books in her father's library and from correspondence with famous mathematicians such as LaGrange, Legendre, and Gauss. One of the pioneers of elasticity theory, she won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her essay on the subject.
(June 28, 1712 - July 2, 1778)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism of French expression. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.